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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

XI                                  THE WATER CHEVROTAIN                             283
mediate characters between the Pigs and the Ruminants ; there
are but three separate compartments. A highly - Interesting
character Is afforded by the placenta. This is In the present
family of the diffuse kind., not presenting the separated and
tufted cotyledons of the Ruminant placenta. This we may fairly
assume is a further proof of the less-specialised characters of
this group * as compared with the Ruminantia, a view, however,
which is not universally accepted. While the molars have the
selenodont character of other Pecora, the premolars are more
adapted for cutting, with sharp edges.
The genus Tragulus consists of several species (e.g. T. stanleya-
nus> T. nap?*,, etc.), which have been aptly compared In external
appearance to certain Rodents such as the Agoutis. The legs
are delicate and slender, hardly " thicker than an ordinary cedar
pencil." These creatures have got among the Malays a consider-
able reputation for astuteness, embodied in the saying, " Cunning
as a kanchil" The male has tusks, which greatly contributed to
the confusion of this creature with the totally different Musk
Deer., Mbschus moscfiiferus. It is even said to suspend Itself by
their aid to the branches of trees, and so avoid danger.
HyofinQschiLS (or Dorcatherium as It should properly be called)
Is West African. Its rich brown colour, with spots and stripes,
Is much like that of the Chevrotains, but It has shorter limbs.
The only species is D. aquaticum, which Is sometimes called, on
account of Its frequenting the banks of streams, the Water
Chevrotain. Remains of this genus occur In Miocene and Pliocene
strata of Europe.
The separate metacarpals, comparatively simple stomach,absence
of horns, diffuse placenta, and spotted pelage are features which
argue the primitive position of these animals among existing
Artiodactyles.
Besides the two existing genera which have just been treated
of, there are a number of extinct genera undoubtedly belonging
to the same group.
Gelocus (Eocene and OHgocene In range) Is a European
genus known from France. It differs from the living mem-
bers of the group by the fact that the second and fifth toes
on both hind- and fore-feet are represented, as in certain Deer,
ffl For t&e structure of Tragulus, see Milne-Edwards, Ann, JSfd. ASarf. (5) ii. 1864,
p. 49,